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BELGRAVIA HOUSE

Completely refurbished by the previous owner/developer, this luxury home was purchased (from the brochure) by an overseas family to use as their London home during the summer. Apportioned over 6 floors, this grand Belgravia town house nevertheless required a fair amount of cosmetic work done to it to lift it to the standard the family was expecting. The house consists of staff accommodation and a large kitchen on the lower ground floor, with a grand entrance, Salon, formal dining room and office on the upper ground floor. On the first floor there are two Reception rooms and a further Study and kitchenette with the second floor accommodating the Master suite encompassing the bedroom, bathroom and dressing room plus a further kitchenette. The final two floors house five further bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and a large fitting room. The entire house also benefits from an elevator servicing all floors.

The location and proportions of the house already elevated it to its majestic nature, and this was further enhanced by the previous owners with the addition of some specialist decorations and a Pietra Dura marble floor in the Entrance, but this alone did not bring it up to the expected grandeur. Further work by the interior designers at RDD included gilding and painting the ceilings in the principle rooms, updating the master en suite as well as adding bespoke built in joinery. The home was furnished with a mixture of antiques sourced in conjunction with the client at the famous Paris antiques market, together with some carefully curated reproduction items and period lighting. The final phase included the addition of the huge selection of soft furnishings, accessories, art and rugs.

On the ground floor, we gilded the plaster mouldings on the walls and the ceiling, added stencilled decoration to the ceiling field and finished the walls with Stucco Lustro. We added a mix of antiques, in the form of two French chairs and an Italian consul, in with a reproduction Adam hall mirror to compliment the existing Venetian chandelier. The hall leads off onto an exquisite Salon, just perfect for private meetings and formal gatherings. This room, with its high ceilings and expansive windows, received the same dose of specialist decorations as the hall, but with a slightly different finish, nevertheless pulling the two rooms together. The ceiling is again magnificent with its silver leafed mouldings and fine paintwork complimenting the matching chandelier. To add to the luxury interior design, René created a sumptuous layering of window treatment consisting of silk sheers, hand drawn silk drapes and complimenting dress curtains, all finished off with exquisite tie backs. The formal layout of the room called for two sofas and two chairs, laid out in front of the impressive carved mahogany double doors. The team at RDD took great care and time choosing the vast array of soft furnishings, from the bespoke bullion fringe on the sofas to the variety of silk fabrics for the all-important scatter cushions. Further additions to the room included a pair of reproduction gilded consuls, period decorative lighting, and a silk upholstered room divider screen.

The dining room is a study in red! We had already sourced the fabulous nineteenth century Baccarat chandelier and this gave rise to the palette choice. First we upgraded the ceiling decorations by adding some pink/red to the already existing clouding. René then felt that the addition of the wall fabric would add a more intimate feeling to the room so once the gaufraged velvet had been decided, it was just a matter of time to find the right French specialist to carry out the work. Fabric walls were all the rage in 18th and 19th century Europe not only because they enhanced the mood of the room but also because they hid imperfections and kept the damp at bay. Having fallen out of favour, the knowledge to carry out this much specialised work is held by only a handful of people who are impossible to book due to demand, but luckily we found Pierre. Taking several weeks to complete, first lining with layers of Dacron, then stretching the pre-cut panels onto the wall, carefully hiding the joins with grosgrain and piping, the room was finally complete. The windows are embellished with layers of silk curtains and complimenting swags and tails, we added a bespoke mahogany dining table with ten gilded French chairs and finished it all off with a French antique mirror and Louis style commode.

The first floor Reception rooms are strictly for informal family gatherings. Again the client requested an upgrade to the ceilings and in this case the René opted to use green highlights which in turn defined the rooms design scheme. Gracefully laid out around the imposing French fireplace are two comfortable, overstuffed sofas, upholstered in fabulous sage green patterned velvet. Added to this ensemble are two exquisitely gilded original French Bergere arm chairs, an ornately carved Adam coffee table and several beautifully cross veneered occasional tables. Either side of the fireplace are two reproduction Georgian break fronted cabinets, painstakingly designed by René Dekker, after an original piece the client had in her Paris home. The piece de resistance are the matching Georgian mirrors, still with the original float glass and gilding. Here again, René used high drama when it came to the window treatment including aubergine velvet drapes and green floral silk over curtains. Complimenting patterned silks with exquisite passmenterie and luxe upholstery fabrics add warmth and indulgence to the room. Privacy is achieve with the use of hand embroidered sheers that also dapple the light creating a magical and calm atmosphere.

The client was quite adamant that the interior design schemes were colourful and with a penchant for pink, no more so is this apparent than in the master suite. The only tear sheet the client offered the design team for the entire house was an image of a four poster Chippendale designed bed, residing at Harewood House…this she had to have! After some research the team found a manufacturer who could make a copy of the bed, to the scale and size required for the room. Consisting of a velvet upholstered cupola, ornate canopy and literally a hundred metres of Chapirelli silk velvet, with some detail changes, the water gilded, velvet adorned bed was manufactured and delivered to the clients great delight. Again the design team used Pierre’s expert skills to ‘fabric wall’ the room, this time in an exquisite white with pink design Toile du Jouy. The room is finished off with a bespoke silk rug, silk velvet love seat, a pair of Bergere arm chairs and luxurious theatrical curtains. The en suite was already mostly designed but with a little cosmetic work the built in bath was removed and replaced with a free standing model, squarely placed in front of the tall window (which also uses the same window treatment as the bedroom). Finally, bespoke Bisazza mosaic wall panels were added to the otherwise plain walls.

The remaining bedrooms were all treated with similar design and colour gusto. Interviewing each daughter separately, René created schemes specific to their tastes. The large second floor bedroom walls are resplendent in a period embroidered French fabric with a fresh green back ground that has used a variation of corals and pinks in the floral pattern. These colours were skilfully brought out by René in the headboard, bedspread, scatter cushions and upholstery fabrics. Fun shaped pelmets and classical curtains, detailed tie backs and various French occasional furniture completes this young lady’s suite. On the next floor, the main bedroom has a decidedly darker scheme, but still makes use of pattern and colour to create the wow factor. Gaufraged velvet walls, a mixture of moss green, sage and petrol blue fabrics blending in with the bespoke rug and dramatic curtains make this room very special. The final bedroom on the top floor belonged to the youngest daughter. She just wanted pink! René used a very light and fresh palette here incorporating candyfloss and soft gold but using varying textures to define the scheme. Silks mixed with velvet and quilted satin and brushed cottons are set off fabulously against the chic floral patterned wall paper. With not too much space in the room, just a few curated pieces of furniture were added by the designer such as the early twentieth century veneered dressing table, the French bedside tables and the deep buttoned arm chair.

Architects Spence Harris Hogan

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